Christmas Evil (1980) - Christmas Evil (1980) - User Reviews - IMDb
Christmas Evil (1980) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
115 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Not what it purports to be
Leofwine_draca23 June 2015
Christmas Evil is a rather uninteresting black comedy about a homicidal Santa Claus who takes his role to murderous levels. It start off promisingly enough as a kid witnesses his mother engaged in a rather intimate situation with Father Christmas and later self harms. Years later, he goes on a rampage at Yuletide.

The problem with this low budget production is that it's very slow and not much happens. It's a full 50 minutes before we get any horror scenes and even those are weak in the extreme. The acting is poor and the tone is off too - half of this seems to be designed as a black comedy, but the problem is that it's neither funny nor interesting.

Christmas Evil didn't do anything for me at all, and that cheesy joke ending is the sour cherry on top. It's probably the worst Christmas-themed "horror" movie in existence.
9 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Suck it, Bill O'Reilly!
lee_eisenberg23 December 2008
Another Christmas-themed horror flick? Yes, but "You Better Watch Out" (aka "Christmas Evil") deals partly with the main character's mental breakdown. When I first read about it, I noticed that it co-stars Jeffrey DeMunn (he co-starred in "Frances", "The Storm" and "The Green Mile"); obviously these guys had to start out somewhere.

The ending was a real surprise, although IMDb says that it isn't what it seems. No matter, this is the sort of movie that Bill O'Reilly would no doubt offer as proof of a "war on Christmas" (as if any such thing existed). If you like horror flicks, then you'll probably enjoy it. Also starring Brandon Maggart.
3 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Bit Slow For a Slasher
gavin694227 December 2016
A toy factory worker (Fiona Apple's father), mentally scarred as a child upon learning Santa Claus is not real, suffers a nervous breakdown after being belittled at work, and embarks on a Yuletide killing spree.

I had a copy of this movie on my desk for over a year (thanks, Vinegar Syndrome) but somehow never found the time. Finally, in December 2016, I put it in and gave it a watch. And, sadly, despite a few good scenes and the possibility of this being the first killer Santa movie, it runs a bit too slow and too long to be a really strong slasher.

On the bright side, it has Jeffrey DeMunn before he really became a horror icon through his work with Frank Darabont.
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Terrifically offbeat and unique seasonal horror gem
Woodyanders12 April 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Meek middle-aged toy factory worker Harry Stadling (superbly played with heartbreaking pathos and conviction by Brandon Maggart) has a decidedly unhealthy fixation on Santa Claus: He lives in a home adorned with a motley array of St. Nick-themed items, tries to get his indifferent coworkers to take pride in the toys that they manufacture, and even spies on the neighborhood kids with binoculars and keeps tabs on their behavior in a series of ledgers. However, one fateful Christmas Eve Harry has a severe mental meltdown and goes dangerously off the deep end with his Santa obsession.

Those expecting a typical and conventional slice'n'dice body count opus will be seriously disappointed; instead writer/director Lewis Jackson offers something much better and more ambitious: A quirky, vivid, and often darkly humorous psychological character study of a deeply tragic and troubled soul who elicits from the viewer a complex blend of fear and pity. Best of all, Jackson not only grounds the premise in a thoroughly believable workaday blue collar reality, but also provides a handy helping of spot-on stinging social commentary on the crass commercialization of the yuletide season. Moreover, this film delivers a wonderful wealth of inspired oddball moments: A raucous Christmas office party that degenerates into a drunken fracas, Harry marking a bratty kid's house with muddy hand prints, Harry happily dancing at another Christmas party (Harry's speech to a bunch of little children at this particular party is an absolute loopy hoot!), Harry getting stuck in a chimney, Harry being chased by an angry torch-wielding mob, a police station line-up of sidewalk Santas, and a truly bonkers magical ending that's probably all in Harry's unbalanced head.

While Maggart clearly dominates the movie with his top-notch portrayal of a fascinatingly sincere and well-meaning, yet still lethal and unhinged individual, he nonetheless receives sturdy support from Jeffrey DeMunn as Harry's fed-up long-suffering younger brother Philip, Dianne Hall as Philip's more sweet and tolerant wife Jackie, Joe Jamrog as lazy and irresponsible coworker Frank, and Peter Friedman as callous executive Mr. Grosch. Philip Cosnoff does a wickedly dead-on caricature of Geraldo Rivera as preening television reporter Ricardo Bauma. Popping up in small parts are such familiar faces as Mark Margolis, Patricia Richardson, Rutanya Alda, and Raymond J. Barry. Kudos are also in order for Ricardo Aronovich's lustrous cinematography and the wonky electronic score by Joel Harris, Julia Heyward, and Don Christensen. A marvelously singular treat.
14 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
You better be good for goodness sake!
BA_Harrison5 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
It's less trashy than Silent Night Deadly Night, less influential than Black Christmas, and less sleazy than Don't Open 'Til Christmas, but You Better Watch Out (AKA Christmas Evil) is certainly no less worthy of your time if you dig seasonal horrors.

In fact, it fully deserves to have something of a cult following thanks to its quirky sense of humour, and a wonderful turn by Brandon Maggart as crazy Harry Stadling, who as a child, spotted his mommy doing more than just kissing Santa Clause, and who now takes Christmas a little too seriously, deciding for himself who has been naughty and nice, and dealing with them accordingly.

With such fun scenes as Harry (in full Father Christmas costume) dancing his heart out at a Christmas party, getting stuck in a chimney, and imagining his van is being pulled by reindeer, plus a police identity line-up consisting of a motley looking collection of Santas, You Better Watch Out might be more amusing than horrific, but it is still very twisted at times; certainly what little graphic violence is shown is surprisingly nasty, such as when Harry attacks a group of church-goers, poking an eye out with a toy soldier and then axing a couple of guys in the head.

As Harry's murderous rampage continues, and local people begin to eye anyone in a Santa costume with suspicion, it's not long before our jolly psycho is confronted by an angry mob, who chase him down the streets with flaming torches (in an homage to Universal's Frankenstein, perhaps). Finally, Harry winds up driving his van (which is painted to look like a sled) off a bridge; however, rather than plummeting to his doom, his vehicle flies off into the night sky (presumably showing us what is going through Harry's mind in his final moments).

It's a suitably surreal ending to an enjoyably off-the-wall entry in the Christmas horror sub-genre.

6.5 out of 10, rounded up to 7 for IMDb.
12 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Ho ho whah
BandSAboutMovies22 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I learned about this movie from John Waters and if there's one thing I know, it's that John Waters has never let me down. He said of the film, "I wish I had kids. I'd make them watch it every year and if they didn't like it, they'd be punished."

Christmas Eve 1947: Harry Stadling (played later in the film Brandon Maggart, who is the father of Fiona Apple) watches his father - dressed as Santa - get sexy with his mother. He gets so upset that he smashes a snowglobe and uses it to slice up his hand.

Fast forward to 1980: Harry wants to be Santa. He sleeps in costume, his home is constant decorated for the holidays, he works in the Jolly Dreams toy factory and keeps a book of who is naughty and who is nice. Of note, the toy factory was owned by the family of producer Edward R. Pressman and were known for making the board games Triominoes and Mastermind.

Harry notices an employee that called in sick is at the bar, even after he had to fill in for the man on the assembly line. He gets so mad that he smashes one of his dollhouse figures and cancels Thanksgiving. There's a bright spot, though, as his boss announces that if they increase production, they can give toys to the kids at a hospital.

Harry realizes that everyone sees him as a loser, so he has a nervous breakdown and becomes Santa. He starts making toys in his basement and steals toys from the factory to give to the hospital. But he also does some insane things - like leave dirt on a bad kid's door. And oh yeah - he murders a bunch of young adults who make fun of his costume, an act which his co-workers witness.

Harry goes full nutzoid, destroying his nephews gifts and replacing them with toys he's made and killing a co-worker and leaving more toys behind.He attends the company Christmas party and dances to an increasingly faster an more frenetic version of "Here Comes Santa Claus" before threatening to put people in his bad book.

Then, Harry activates the assembly line and makes more toys before getting his van stuck in the mud. He escapes a mob who recognizes him as a killer before making it to his brother's house. A battle ensues between the two, but Harry escapes and he's forced to drive his van off the bridge by the mob. But in his mind, the van flies off like Santa' sled to the words of "The Night Before Christmas."

Obviously, this is not the movie to share with the kids. But if you're an adult who has had it up to here with the holidays, by all means, this is the tonic you're seeking.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Santa is in urgent need of some therapy...
Coventry27 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Depending entirely on your own personal state of mind when watching this, "Christmas Evil" can either turn out to become an ambitious and innovative psychological thriller OR one of the most pathetic and infuriatingly lame holiday-themed slashers ever made. Me, personally, I'm tempted to opt for the latter because I didn't bother to do any research at all and simply anticipated a cheesy and undemanding early 80's slasher with a nutcase in a Santa Clause costume butchering people. Wrong! The movie actually handles about a bloke named Harry Stadling; who's obsessed with Christmas, works in a rubbish toy factory and considers it to be his responsibility to determine on Christmas Eve who deserves presents and who deserves punishment. Harry's issues all started when he witnessed Santa – his daddy in a costume obviously – caress his mommy's naked legs at a tenderly young age. After that he just developed into a social outcast, much to the irritation of his younger brother, who's bound to snap one (holi)day. I fully understand why certain fans appreciate this slightly eccentric horror movie, but did it really have to be so boring? There are several overlong and seemingly endless parts of the film in which absolutely nothing happens. I can forgive the shortness of gore and outrageous bloodshed, but this movie doesn't even benefice from an unsettling atmosphere or unexpectedly demented plot twists (with the notable exception of the finale, I must admit). Also, I would have taken the concept more seriously if the crazed protagonist would focus himself on lethally punishing the naughty children! He doesn't and exclusively kills misbehaving adults. How are you supposed to take wannabe controversial and original Christmas thriller serious when Santa doesn't even commit one miserable child murder? THAT would have made "Christmas Evil" a classic, whereas now it's just a forgettable and pitiable piece of junk.
1 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
You Better Watch Out
Scarecrow-8814 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Flat-out bizarre flick plays more as a parody on Santa Claus than a legitimate slasher. Harry(Brandon Maggart)is quite a disturbed man who fancies himself a modern day Santa Claus. A recurring memory of his mother having a sexual liaison with Santa(his father in Kris Krengal dress)haunts him and seems to be the chief motivator in his madness. He's so engulfed in the spirit of the yuletide season he sleeps in his Santa garb, creates his own toy soldiers, spies on neighborhood kids to see if they are naughty or nice(he has two separate books where he catalogues the good and bad children by how they behave on a day to day basis), and paints the side of his van with an image of a sleigh. He will go out on Christmas Eve as Santa delivering stolen toys from his employ to a retarded home for children. But, there's also a rage that bears itself violently to those who mock and criticize his well-meaning example of St Nick. Three adults at the steps of a church poke fun to the point where Harry attacks them with an ax while also gouging one man's eye out with the sword of a toy soldier. He is greeted by a bar full of people who wish him to entertain their children and Harry pays a visit to a co-worker who tricked him into working his spot on the late-shift while he was out drinking with buddies(the star of David on top of the Christmas tree will be his reward..across his throat!). There's even a homage to FRANKENSTEIN where a group, who know he killed those adults on the church steps, chases after him wanting revenge on this killer Santa. But, through all the silliness on display, there's a sad undercurrent of loss between Harry and his brother Philip(Jeffrey DeMun)who thinks his older brother is a pathetic excuse of a man who needs serious help. The ending is completely ridiculous with Harry's van flying away into the night as if it were a reindeer-led sleigh-ride.

I think the film benefits from Maggart's amazing portrayal of the troubled Harry who is never in full control that it's so obvious he's needed help for some time. The signs are there yet most just looked down on him instead of trying to understand him. Despite five deaths, the film really isn't much of a slasher film, no matter how it appears marketed to be just that.
4 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I'm with John Waters on this one: this movie is great.
Hey_Sweden11 December 2011
This cult favourite seasonal picture is writer / director Lewis Jackson's interesting, offbeat take on the holidays, focusing on a pathetic figure named Harry Stadling (Brandon Maggart), whose mind has been warped ever since seeing something as a child that he ought not to have seen. He's grown up with an obsession with Christmas; the decorations at his place have a Christmas theme, for one thing. He's dismayed at the attitudes displayed by co-workers at his place of employment, a toy factory, and goes so far as to catalogue the naughty or nice activities of children in his neighbourhood. When he learns that his company plans on donating toys to a local hospital, but expects all employees to make any financial donations, that's when he truly becomes determined to spread his own brand of Christmas cheer.

Now, this is not really for hardcore horror fans. True enough that Harry does end up murdering a few people, but this is not about racking up the body count. This is ultimately about one man's mental and emotional deterioration, and nowadays some folk might even insist on giving it the common "psychological thriller" label. Jackson takes aim at the crass commercialization of the holiday, a common theme in Christmas fare, and comes up with some very striking images, notably the police line up of Santas, and the homage to the Fritz Lang classic "M" with angry torch bearing citizens hellbent on getting their hands on Harry.

Talented star Maggart came in cold for his audition and delivered the exact performance seen in the movie; it's truly something to see. Fellow character veteran Jeffrey DeMunn ('The Walking Dead', "The Green Mile", etc.) is also effective as Phil, the younger brother frustrated over having to look out for Harry for many years rather than being able to look up to him. The cast and crew is filled with a number of people who did very well for themselves afterwards; the actors include future 'Home Improvement' wife & mom Patricia Richardson, as well as Peter Friedman, Mark Margolis, Raymond J. Barry, Robert Lesser, Bill Raymond, and Rutanya Alda; the crew includes "presenter" and producer Edward R. Pressman, cinematographer Affonso Beato (who would shoot "The Big Easy"), and the late editor Sally Menke, who cut all of Tarantino's directorial efforts. Fun sequences feature Harry partying hearty with some strangers at a Christmas party and delivering toys to the children at a hospital. Seeing Harry spy on the kids, however, does create a fairly creepy vibe, no matter how good his intentions are.

One thing is for certain, and it's that this amusing low budget flick is fairly memorable, right down to its ending.

Seven out of 10.
33 out of 37 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Pretty pathetic
preppy-322 November 2007
Stupid and just plain weird movie about some kid who becomes traumatized when he finds out Santa isn't real (???). He grows up and becomes an adult (Brandon Maggart) who makes lists of people who are naughty or nice. One Christmas Eve he snaps and sets out to kill the naughty people--dressed as Santa of course.

Boring and just plain bad killer Santa movie. It's not really a horror movie--it's more of a character study--a very BAD character study!If you're looking for gore, it's not here. Only a few of the murders are shown and they're not that gory with VERY fake effects. Most of the movie just contains Brandon Maggart talking to himself and slowly going crazy. The script is trite, the acting is terrible and it leads to an ending which had me staring slack-jawed at the TV. Seriously, I had to rewind the tape and watch it again to make sure I wasn't hallucinating! Really REALLY poor ending.

If you want a scary Christmas flick rent "Black Christmas" (the original 70s version---NOT the terrible remake). Avoid this one at all costs.
11 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I hate this film.
poolandrews31 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Don't you just hate it when a company picks a crap film up for distribution and pounces on it's virtually non-existent horror elements to sell it, using lurid over-the-top artwork on the video/DVD box? Christmas Evil isn't even the original title. I know I do and Chirstmas Evil is a good case in point, read on further and I shall explain. We are informed that it's 'Christmas Eve 1947'. Someone narrates "...and all through he house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care and hope that St. Nicholas would soon be there." Two young boys, Philip (Wallyt Moran) and his brother Harry Stadling (Gus Salud) are sat on the stairs watching their father dressed as Santa Claus (Brian Hartigan) emerge from their chimney and fill the stockings with presents, after eating and drinking some treats they left out for him Santa disappears back up the chimney and the two boys head off back to bed. Harry decides to go back downstairs and sees the Santa Clause having intimate relations with his mother (Ellen McElduff). He runs back upstairs to the attic and cuts himself with some broken glass. The film then shifts to 'the present', ahem is that meant to be a joke? Harry Stadling (Brandon Maggart) and his brother Philip (Jeffery DeMunn) are both now grown adults. Harry is single and works in middle-management for the 'Jolly Dream' toy factory, while Philip has a family, Jackie (Dianne Hull) his wife and their two young boys Dennis (Andy Fenwick) and Marc (Brian Neville), and works as a city Marshall. Harry is a messed up guy, he sleeps with a Santa outfit on and makes himself a white fluffy Santa beard out of shaving foam. He spies on children in his area, writing about them in either a large 'good' or 'bad' book. His favourite child is a young girl named Susie Lovett (Elizabeth Ridge) whom he has a photo of in his apartment, urgh! His least favourite is Moss Garcia (Peter Neuman) who Harry scares by grabbing him from behind a bush. All around him he sees people and children not appreciating Christmas the way it should. After a series of events which sends Harry over the edge, including run-ins with his mean scrooge like boss Mr. Fletcher (Scott McKay) and various work colleagues, Harry dresses up on Christmas Eve as Santa and travels around New York giving out presents to good boys and girls and killing the bad ones, until he ends up at his brothers house for a final confrontation. Written and directed by Lewis Jackson I hated this film. I thought it was going to be a killer Santa film, how wrong I was. The script sucks, it's really slow and dull. And even worse there are virtually no horror elements involved. The police line up of potential Santa psychos is a quite funny scene, though. I'm not sure Jackson intended it that way but that's how it comes across. And I couldn't believe what I was watching during the end which simply defies description, you have to see it to believe it. He only kills four people and three of those within a two minute time-frame. I guess it was meant to be a psychological study of a man who is going mad in todays immoral society, yeah right! Unfortunately I never felt anything for anyone, especially Harry. Violence and gore is non-existent so don't bother looking at this if you want a high body count. Nothing else about the film particularly stands out, technically it's OK but nothing special. A real waste of time that can't really, in truth be called a horror film.
3 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Christmas EVIL (Lewis Jackson, 1980) ***
Bunuel19762 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I had been interested in watching this one ever since I came across its respectable *** rating in Leonard Maltin's Film Guide (where it's listed under the original title of YOU BETTER WATCH OUT - and which, actually, also happens to be the name on the print included here!). Apart from being championed by cult auteur John Waters (who here contributes a Commentary track, in which he's accompanied by Lewis Jackson himself), noted film critic Carlos Clarens considered the film the darkest he ever saw (along with David Lynch's ERASERHEAD [1977])!

It's been previously available on DVD and I had myself been tempted to pick it up via one of those Brentwood multi-film sets, but I'm glad now that I waited for Synapse's definitive edition (which, surprisingly, was released without much fanfare!). Anyway, I was generally impressed with the film: its deliberate pace, coupled with a remarkable leading performance from Brandon Maggart and the weird score, creates a genuinely unsettling aura throughout; despite the unfamiliar personnel involved and the obvious low-budget, the end result is certainly compelling.

Still, while it's touted as a slasher film (one of a few with a Yuletide backdrop - I've watched the even superior BLACK Christmas [1974] but haven't yet checked out any entries from the SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT [1984-92] series), the killing spree here is limited to just two violent outbursts: the first - leaving numerous victims - occurs outside a church in full view of the public, utilizing shock cuts and crude gore effects for its impact; the second, a personal vendetta taking place inside the house of one of Maggart's colleagues, relies mainly on creating suspense and is then carried out in one swift and vicious stroke. In fact, the film is better approached as a character study in the vein of TAXI DRIVER (1976) - with Maggart, having something of an obsession with Christmas after a traumatic childhood experience, slipping slowly but surely into madness: he keeps a couple of diaries in which the vices and virtues of the neighborhood kids are periodically listed - so that, at Christmastime, he's able to reward the good whilst punishing the bad (actually, his interaction with the children might well be construed as borderline paedophelia by today's standards)!

Another interesting element to the film is the strained relationship between Maggart and his younger sibling, who's forced to take care of him (though his family seems more willing to accept Maggart's flaws): this culminates in the latter finally blowing his top and attempting to strangle Maggart, when it dawns on him that the "Killer Santa" who has terrorized the town is none other than his own deranged brother! Finding himself on the run and with nowhere to hide, Maggart decides to bow out in spectacular fashion - leaping off a bridge with his van - but Jackson decides to end it all with a disarming touch of fantasy, as the vehicle suddenly takes flight in the sky like a herd of reindeer!

The extras included on the "Special Edition" DVD are exemplary: the six-and-a-half minutes of deleted scenes don't add much to the film, but the comment cards are an amusing feature (demonstrating the mixed reception that greeted the film on initial release) and the audition tapes (running for some 26 minutes), while necessarily repetitive, are quite interesting - and not just for showcasing such actors as George Dzundza, Lindsay Crouse and JoBeth Williams at the very start of their careers! During the engaging Jackson/Waters discussion, the former cites Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Douglas Sirk among his influences - whereas Waters perceptively likens Maggart's desire to become Santa Claus to a transsexual's craving for a sex-change operation (also, typically for him, he sees a lot of sexual imagery in the film, but which Jackson maintains was unintentional)!
4 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
But if you're bad, then your name goes in the Bad Boys and Girls Book, and then I'll bring you something... horrible.
lastliberal27 November 2008
I saw mommy...well, she wasn't exactly kissing Santa Clause; he has his hand on her thigh and wicked thoughts in mind.

This was enough to emotionally scar a young boy who wanted to believe. He grew up to be a bitter man who was upset at the quality of the toys being made, and the lack of Christmas spirit.

Expecting a real slasher flick, I was very disappointed that less than a handful of people dies, and there was no nudity at all. What a bummer.

I wanted to like this flick, but it was just too slow and really didn't have a good script. I didn't expect great acting, but I sure wanted some action. There just wasn't any.
0 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Christmas Good.
morrison-dylan-fan7 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
When discovering Arrow Video a few years ago,this title and the wonderful Savage Streets (1984-also reviewed) were the two toughest to locate. Getting lucky and picking Savage up in a sale,I was shocked to find the X-Mas Horror become deleted and get sold for silly money. Speaking to a family friend about Christmas viewing plans,I got told that the flick had actually come out on Region 1 DVD as well,which led to me at last finding out how evil Christmas can be.

View on the film:

Taking a decade to get filmed, the changes writer/director Lewis Jackson (who does an excellent commentary with fan John Waters) made to dice the flick into production during the Slasher era are visible, via the merry use of Christmas decorations/ toys for murder having a crisp style in the set-pieces which are out of place with the rest of the film. Jingling all the way as the "Greed is good" era begun, Jackson cast a cynical atmosphere over the holiday season by slinging loose cannon Harry into a gutter of sharp suited scum and acid-tongue office parties. Attempting for this to be a study of someone on the fringe of society, the screenplay by Jackson feels incredibly forced with handling the Slasher elements, which discharge the chance for the complexities offered by loner Harry to crack to the surface, as Harry wishes all a Merry evil Christmas.
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Slightly overrated Christmas slasher
kannibalcorpsegrinder14 June 2014
Bothered for years by a vision from the past, a grown man with a grudge against the holidays dresses as a Santa and begins a murderous reign of terror across town, forcing his own brand of extreme holiday justice on the wayward town.

Though this is a decent and certainly renown entry in the killer-Santa style of films, that still doesn't make up for the fact that this one is still monumentally flawed. The fact that this one takes a near eternity to get going is the biggest issue, as the nearly insane amount of time spent with the guy observing others and being berated at work in lieu of actually slashing others makes this a chore to sit through, with nearly an hour spent on these points without interruption that it's just nearly impossible to stay interested in what goes on. The severely low body-count and rather irritating manner in which he's constantly mistaken for the real thing grows rather old, but there's some spirited cheese on display, including an attack on reporters in full view of others and a fine finale, but it really can't overcome the beginning.

Rated R: Language, Graphic Violence and children-in-jeopardy.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
X-Mass Murder...
azathothpwiggins29 May 2020
Due to a childhood trauma, Harry (Brandon Maggart) is obsessed with all things Christmas. He works at a toy factory, and despises the cheaply-made products he must build. During one final yuletide season, Harry is overcome by the falsehood and greed of it all. In a word, he snaps, and a rampage ensues.

CHRISTMAS EVIL isn't what one might expect. This red-suited killer not only doles out vengeance upon the naughty, but delivers good things to the nice and needy. This is a more complex story than the typical slasher fare. Though humorous and violent in spots, there's also some poignancy to offset the mayhem. Recommended for those who enjoy dark films with a bit of substance...
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
You're no longer a child.......
FlashCallahan1 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
A young boy loves Christmas so much, he is scarred for life when he learns that Santa is not real.

Throughout the rest of his life, the toy-maker tries to make the Christmas spirit a reality. He becomes obsessed with the behaviour of children and the quality of the toys he makes.

When he is met with hypocrisy and cynicism, the resulting snap causes him to go on a yuletide killing spree.............but you'll get a gift if you've been good.....

After seeing this, supposedly one of the best efforts of a Christmas horror movie, I can wholeheartedly disagree with that statement.

The film is well acted, but my gosh, is it boring and bland.

But the most infuriating thing about the whole film is the fact that it has so much potential. A man trying to keep the Christmas spirit raised so much, that people are literally mocking him, so he goes on a killing spree........but the fact is, he doesn't go on said spree, he drives around town giving out presents for the majority of the film, pokes someone in the eye, strangles someone else, and then flies off.

But he doesn't fly off in reality, you hear the van crash, it's just his deluded mind thinking he is the real Santa.

If your looking for an exploitative Christmas horror, go for something like Santa's Slay, it's silly and bad for all the right reasons.

If this was addressed as a thriller, and not described as all out horror, you may get something out of it.

I didn't, except extreme boredom....,
1 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
This one is kind of lame...spoilers.
Aaron13757 June 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Yes, I am just going to tell you about this one so don't read if you want surprises. I got this one with the title Christmas Evil. There was also another Christmas horror on the DVD called Silent Night, Bloody Night. Whereas Silent Night, Bloody Night (not to be confused with Silent Night, Deadly Night) had lots of potential and was very close to being good, this one wasn't quite as good. It started out interesting enough watching the villain (if you can call him that) watching the neighborhood kids and writing in books about who is naughty and nice, but after awhile you are looking for some action and this movie doesn't deliver. You need character development, but this goes overboard and you are still never sure why the heck the guy snaps. About an hour in he kills three of four people while a whole crowd watches in terror, and the guys he kills aren't even his targets they are just making fun of him. This is one of many unsuccessful attempts by the killer to knock of the naughty. He then proceeds to try and kill this other guy, and he tries to break into his house by squeezing himself into the fireplace. He promptly gets stuck and barely manages to get out. He then enters through the basement and then tries to kill the guy by smothering him in his bedroom. He can't seem to kill the guy this way so he grabs a star off the tree and slits the guys throat. What the heck was a tree even doing in the bedroom in the first place? Oh yeah, the killer before this kill stopped off at a party and had some fun too. Well that is about it except for the town people chasing him with torches and the unresolved part with his brother and that tune he wants to play. What was that even about? He kept talking about something that was never really explained. How does it end you ask, well since I have spoilers I will tell you. He runs off the road in his van and proceeds to, well lets just say it was lame!!!!!!!!!!!!
0 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
the hohoho-job that changed Harry
trashgang27 December 2012
Now that Arrow Video brought this out on DVD it was time again to pick up this horror. We do all know the classics Black Christmas (1974) and Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984).

It all starts very silly with two children and their mother sitting on the stairs seeing how Santa comes down the chimney to give some presents. Harry does believe in Santa but his brother tells him that Santa is his dad. When they all go to bed Harry goes down again to see Santa again but what he sees changes him forever. Santa is giving mommy a lickety-clit.

Back forward a few years and Harry works at a crummy factory as a toymaker but deep inside he only wants to be the real Santa. Shaving gives him a joy with the white foam giving him the Santa beard feeling. Once it's Christmas he's out as Santa.

Sadly that's all that we do see here in Christmas Evil. It's low on gore and even blood. The only thing we see is an eye-stabbing and an axe going into a skull. He even gets stuck in the chimney. He do becomes a deranged Santa but it's really camp and the end scene is really cheesy with the last words coming out of The Night Before Christmas and just look what happens, cheesy isn't it?

Kleenex lovers will think that the licking of Santa is erotic, well let me tell you there is nothing to see, no nudity at all. Christmas Evil as a title is misleading thinking you will see a good old season slasher, it isn't, it's more a drama. Horror buffs will discard it, I'm sure of that. It wasn't my thing neither. Coming out in the glory days of gore and blood this is a really bad Santa flick.

Gore 0,5/5 Nudity 0/5 Effects 2/5 Story 3/5 Comedy 0/5
2 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Very enjoyable killer Santa slasher flick.
HumanoidOfFlesh8 January 2008
A young boy witnesses his mom getting it off with Santa which warped his mind and he grows up to become obsessed with Christmas.He keeps a record of all of the children who had been good and all of those who had been naughty and he hates those people who use Christmas for their own needs.Eventually he snaps and goes around the town,looking for "naughty" people who trash the good name of Christmas.The series of bloody murders begins..."Christmas Evil" is a joy to watch.Brandon Maggert is perfect as a psychotic Santa Claus and there are some moments of sheer lunacy including a Santa Claus police lineup,a murder with a tree topper star and New Yorkers chasing bad Santa through the streets with torches."Christmas Evil" is slow in parts;it plays more like a character study than a straight ahead slasher flick.Still despite its low body count I enjoyed this twisted little flick.
2 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Ever wonder what the coal looks like that Santa delivers?
thesar-215 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
No, I've never seen any of the "Santa Slasher" series, i.e. 'Silent Night, Deadly Night,' the original 'Black Christmas' or this one, 'Christmas Evil.' I've heard all about their reputation, or, MADS (Mothers Against Deranged Santas.) I thought I would rent this one as I've heard it pop up as a reference on a 'Fat Guys At the Movies' segment.

Mothers should be against this, but not for the ooooohhhh "killer" Santa, but for the fact this movie was just plain crap. Boring, long – even at only 92 minutes, crap.

Little boy sees Santa arrive down a chimney in 1947, deliver presents, eat some goodies and miraculously, float up the chimney. Boy goes to bed, but returns to living room to witness Mommy and Santa (sort of) getting it on. Apparently this messed up that kid for the rest of his life, though the scene was about as steamy as when Ralphie's dad got the "Leg Lamp" in 'A Christmas Story.' He was sooo disturbed, he went to the attic and, well cut his own hand.

Fast forward to the future! Now, it's 1980 and messed up boy works in a toy factory. We get a whiff of him being a little off-kilter, and he stalks both kids and parents alike. Who's naughty, who's nice, blah blah. It takes a good two-thirds of the film to get him to finally snap – as if that's not foreshadowed from frame one. NO MOVIE should take that long.

I will admit, this movie had its tension building, but only because I kept expecting him to do something, anything to anyone. When he finally does, well, punish "who's naughty," it's as graphic as a "Garbage Pail Kid" card. And I haven't mentioned the WTF ending. I'm thinking it was a metaphor, but in reality, it's just as weird as the rest of the movie. (Take the brother who's upset his sibling is killing, and his solution is…uh, killing.) Don't open this mess, even on Christmas Eve, or Evil. Again, I didn't watch the other "Santa-Slashers" but this one sucked bad. It built up suspense due to the nature of the movie and never once delivered a decent present.
1 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Santa Clause meets Norman Bates
sol12184 January 2009
(Some Spoilers) Off the wall slasher film involving this not so stable toy factory manager who got the shock of his life when, as a little boy, her saw Santa and his mom getting off on Christmas Eve. The fact that Santa was young Harry Stadling's father didn't seem to be noticed by Harry who became obsessed with Ol' Saint Nicholas his entire life. Going on a one man crusade Harry was intent to prove the existence of Santa if it was the last thing that he did. Harry went so far as living a secret life as the man in the red and white suit using his disguise as Santa as his personal and secret identity.

Harry keeping tabs on all the kids in his neighborhood, by spying on them, had a list of who was naughty and who was nice among them and as Christmas approached he was to make sure that they all got, good or bad, everything that they so rightfully deserved. It was really the adults who didn't believe in Santa and the giving spirit of the Chistmas holidays that Harry really had it in for. And it was them who in the end had to pay, in Harry's mind, for their unforgivable sins! It was when Harry flipped out, on Christmas Eve, that he turned the joy of Christmas into a night of horrors.

Touched by the horrible conditions at the local Willowy Springs-a take of on the notorious Willowbrook state school in Staten Island NY- State Hospital Harry tried to get his fellow workers at the Jolly Dream Toy Factory to chip in and give the unwanted and discarded, by their families, kids there some toys for Christmas. It's When he was laughed at and made to feel like a fool,in his wanting to give away loads of toys for free, by his bosses at the factory that something snapped in Harry's head having him go ballistic! Besides Harry taking all the toys, from the factory, to give away as Christmas presents to the children in the city he also plans to give his Scrooge-like bosses a Christmas that they'll never forget!

Harry's rampage in the movie was motivated by those who looked at Christmas, and Santa, as nothing but a money making, not giving, time of the year. Even though he didn't like kids who didn't listen to their parents and elders and looked at dirty pictures, like Penthouse Centerfolds, Harry felt that they can be made to see he evil in their ways and be straightened in time. It was the adults who made a mockery of Christmas, and Santa Clause, that Harry really had it in for in that they should know better but don't. which in Harry's mind was unforgivable and needed to be, by him, taken care of with the utmost urgency!

Hard to take serious slasher/horror movie in that the villain, Harry Stadling, was so lovable that even when he did in his victims you just couldn't dislike him. Harry was so believable as the lovable Santa Clause that even the children of the people that he murdered looked up to him, with Harry giving them expensive presents, as if he were the real McCoy, Santa, himself!

During the entire film Harry was always on the outs with his younger brother Philip who, since they were little boys, never believed in Santa and let Harry know it in no uncertain terms. It took a while but in the end even Philip became a believer. Not that Harry proved to Philip that the legendary Santa does in fact exists but, in the final moments of the movie, that Santa is actually his own brother, Harry Stadling, in the flesh!
6 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Many levels of messed up and yet I suggest its smarter than your average awful B-Horror
Robert_duder21 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Christmas Evil is no feat of film making. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone convince me of that. That being said there are some things about this film that make it stand out from other slashers that came after or even before it. It has a distinctive Psycho vibe to it and it is clear that the director actually cared about this film and was trying to make a good solid horror flick. I didn't find it nearly as campy as other B-horror 80's flicks I have seen and the performance by our lead actor is downright disturbing. Certainly it borders on being comedic in some sort of twisted way but so much of the style, scenes, sound effects and acting is just too weird and creepy to be funny. I absolutely understand why this has become a cult classic in certain circles because as far as I know and can tell this was really the first movie to turn everything sacred about Christmas into a terrifying idea. Yes, Black Christmas was set at Christmas time but our killer is literally obsessed with Christmas, children, Santa and having his dreams shattered as a child. I'm not a film expert and I rarely notice things like camera angles or specifics in cinematography and yet I couldn't help but notice some of the smart and equally creepy shots in this movie.

Perhaps in the most disturbing concept Sesame Street 70's alumni Brandon Maggart who has also had a lucrative Television career is fascinating in this movie as the completely deranged killer. I know many of you that hate B-movies will scoff and wonder if I'm crazy but Maggart is excellent in this. He displays his very best Norman Bates given the very shallow character development he gets. His mental breakdown and obsessions drives this movie and honestly his performance is far better than a movie like this deserves. I anxiously awaited his snap when he would finally lose it and he is actually a very good actor who makes such a ridiculous film concept seem viable. Its almost a one man show for him because every other person in the movie are small supporting roles so the main focus is squarely on him and it actually probably makes the film that much better. How incredible he is from the time he puts on the suit for the first time through delivering the gifts to the hospital (just a jaw droppingly disturbing scene) to his murderous spree. Not the kills are where the film really starts to get campy because they are ridiculous and poorly shot with dollar store special effects. But thanks to (once again) the music and the camera is just disturbing. Jeffrey DeMunn (a recognizable character actor) plays Harry's brother and does a solid job. Same with Dianne Hull as his sister in law. They don't get a ton of screen time and they are there strictly to show how far Harry falls from humanity.

I have honestly never seen a horror film like this. I mean, it didn't just freak me out but it legitimately got under my skin. It just felt wrong...the killer is completely sadistic and his descent is terrifying to watch. As a horror fan I would never add this to my collection because I simply don't think I could watch it a second time and yet I have to give it kudos for style and just the sick dark nature of it. Writer and director Lewis Jackson has virtually no other credits to his name and I'm actually surprised because I keep emphasizing there is some talent here. The problem with the movie is the story is incredibly weak. I mean, it would have made a great difference to have something other than Harry spotting his Dad dressed as Santa and fooling around with his mother to leave a disturbing impression on him. If some aspects of another B-Horror Christmas classic Silent Night, Deadly Night mixed with this they would have had a real terrifying movie on their hands. I have to call it like I see it and this is brilliantly crafted in so many ways. It drags and dawdles a lot but its like a horrifying car wreck that you can't look away from. His Santa suit is so well done and every time you see a child on the screen you feel sick to your stomach because this guy is truly so messed up. Watch this but with caution because it is something really sick. Only horror fans looking for something outside of the box should watch this one. The last half hour of the film turns into a bizarre homage to Frankenstein and just about nearly de-vilifies our killer and makes him an anti-hero. But I would argue with anyone who says this belongs in a "campy horror" film section. It is a bizarre and twisted film that needs to be seen to be believed. 7/10
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The Vidiot Reviews...
capone6667 December 2017
Christmas Evil

Santa Claus tells burglars that home invasion is okay so long as you bring a gift.

Regrettably, the only gift the malefactor in this horror movie bares is a swinging axe.

Toymaker Harry (Brandon Maggart) takes his job so seriously he believes he's destined to be Kris Kringle. Wearing the red and white costume and compiling a nice/naughty list of his neighbours, Harry dispenses his brand of Christmas justice upon them.

While some get gifts from him, others - like his shiftless coworker (Joe Jamrog) or mouthy hipsters – get a taste of Harry's hatchet.

Originally titled: You Better Watch Out, this B-Movie from 1980 set the standard for the seasonal slashers that started appearing shortly after its release. Cheesy, but tinged with social commentary, this Christmas story straddles the line between goodwill and pure evil.

Still, the creepiest thing about Santa remains his fixation with having children sit on him.

Yellow Light
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
You Better Watch Out: Meh!
Platypuschow29 October 2018
You Better Watch Out otherwise known as Christmas Evil is essentially a Christmas version of Falling Down (1993) just not as clever, interesting, thought provoking or even remotely good.

It tells the story of a man tormented by the memory of discovering that Santa Claus isn't real. Overworked and underappreciated, taken advantage by work colleagues and witnessing the selfishness of his company he finally snaps and goes on a killing spree dressed as santa (As you do).

It's one of those films where though you can't fully empathise with the antagonist you can understand his plight to an extent and even feel a little bit sorry for him. Arguably a tale of mental illness it certainly has a passable premise but the execution is more than a little shoddy.

If you take it for what it is you may find a level of enjoyment, but nothing is likely to prepare you for the more than a little odd finale.

The Good:

I get what they were trying to do

The Bad:

Delivery is lacking

Things I Learnt From This Movie:

I'm unsure whether that ending constitutes as good or bad
18 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed